Review : A.V.

9

 

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Video Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Lvt3rxZTSQ

There’s not much I enjoy more than starting a game and being greeted by a seizure warning. A.V. never really displayed any quickly flashing lights, so I’m not sure it’s necessary but legally it’s probably a smart move. Looking at it from a comedic standpoint however, I could not get more joy out of something so simple. It gets me to thinking, “Is this game worth risking my life for?” No game really is. But, could this puzzle platformer perhaps rival other greats in the genre? It certainly presents some new ideas, but did they serve the game or hinder it? Find out as we take a deeper look at A.V.

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A.V. is a story about a music program gaining sentience and trying to make sense of the world. The voice-over dialogue of the computer’s interior monologue is well done, although he does sound a bit like a character from South Park. When you enter the game, you will find it almost pitch black. Pressing E will unleash a pulse of sound, which can be used for echolocation. You will be taught about assorted instrument sets that can be used to distort the properties of objects. While it does force you into practical application of the instrument sets, they are introduced in quite a quick succession, and overall I felt a bit overwhelmed by it.

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There is very little direction present in A.V. Objectives are not clearly defined by the audio logs, and you are stuck without a map. There are various signs to teach you what the various buildings are, so you might use them as landmarks, but the Tron-like environment all looks extremely similar especially in the dark. The soundtrack is created by your movements and the environment, which is really cool. I really can appreciate the innovative approach attempted here, but it might serve better in a game where stealthing (not making noise) isn’t the main feature.

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While the aesthetic saves this game from a dismal rating, the actual effects aren’t anything to write home about. The gameplay also seems a bit confused. Aren’t I supposed to be sneaking around a bunch of droids? Then why are the droids attracted to the ping which is your only source of “seeing”? When they catch you isn’t clearly defined either. Sometimes you can escape, other times you’re caught as soon as you spot them. After too much time spent pinging droids to come and kill me, I gave in to my animal urges and rage-quit. While I appreciate the innovation this game offers with the soundtrack, the pinging every 5 seconds to see anything is frustrating and disorienting, leaving A.V. to fall down hard in the gameplay department. Still, I would recommend it if you’re looking for a game that tries something new, and presents a unique experience.

Gameplay:

  • Controls- 5/10
  • Fun Factor- 4/10
  • Difficulty- 7/10
  • Replayability- 2/10
  • Innovation- 10/10

Aesthetic:

  • Graphics- 7/10
  • Music- 9/10
  • Sound FX- 8/10
  • Story/Lore- 7/10
  • Level Design- 7/10

Final Score: 66/100 for innovation, aesthetic, and music.

Summary: Innovative sound-based puzzle platformer. Voted best echolocation simulator 2015 by Dayton Does.

A.V. was released on Steam Feb. 13th 2015.

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